Private beach hut owners in Sutton on Sea make a stand

Campaigners Helen Louth, Terry Wellard and Rebecca Dale are just three of the owners trying to save their private beach huts as well as safeguarding the colonnade for future generations.
Campaigners Helen Louth, Terry Wellard and Rebecca Dale are just three of the owners trying to save their private beach huts as well as safeguarding the colonnade for future generations.

Private beach hut owners in Sutton on Sea are making a stand in the hope the coastal resort’s colonnade, and the huts which sit on top of the structure, can be saved.

The campaign leapt into action after results from a structural survey on the colonnade in September - commissioned by East Lindsey District Council, revealed it had ‘reached the end of its life’.

Now private hut owners are pulling out all the stops to safeguard the colonnade and beach huts for future generations.

Rebecca Dale, who has co-owned a beach chalet with Helen Louth for the last four years said: “We are not arguing with the district council, if the colonnade has to come down, we want it to be replaced.

“Our beach huts are worth thousands and we know we won’t be able to remove them intact - they will just fall to pieces, and we cannot afford to purchase new ones.”

Helen added: “The council has offered us an alternative plot for our huts on South Promenade and £500, but that won’t cover our costs.

“But, even if we were able to move our huts, or be able to get new ones built, the land over there isn’t in great shape and is in no fit state to be able to put a hut onto it.

“Plus, if the colonnade does go back up, we want to be able to put our huts back in this prime position.”

James Gilbert, ELDC’s Growth and Promotions Service Manager, told the Leader that the private hut owners are on a lease that is renewed every year, and said it is ‘unfortunate’, that they have to break the licence due to the colonnade’s deterioration.

He added: “The private hut owners rent the plots for their beach huts from us on a rolling yearly licence.

“But, now the huts need to come off, and because we own the land it is the risk the hut owners are taking. We have offered another plot on South Promenade, and we will be planning to do some work to sort that area out, ready for the huts to go onto.”

Four weeks on since the structural survey results were published, momentum has now gathered with a Facebook group being set up called: ‘Save Sutton on Sea Colonnade and Beach Huts’ and has almost 1,300 members.

Campaigners have also set up an online petition which has received 430 signatures, and a paper version is estimated to have gained a further 1,500. People have also taken the time to tie ribbons onto railings at the top of the colonnade as a way of uniting to support the cause.

Ms Dale revealed people have told them they want a new colonnade built if the original has to come down.

○For more information search for the campaign page on Facebook.